It was after midnight when Phillip Turner spotted a group of cops surrounding a shirtless man sitting on a sidewalk in Arlington last month.
As he usually does, the Texas man pulled over, stepped out and stood across the street video recording; not saying a word, not interfering, not doing anything illegal.
That prompted one Arlington police officer to cross the street and inform Turner that he did not appreciate him being there because the man they were speaking to had mental health issues and it was a private matter, even though he was sitting on a public sidewalk.
“You can go back to the corner where you were, you can videotape from down there, but you’re not allowed to be here,” the cop told him.
Turner, who maintains the YouTube channel, The Battousai, asserted his right to stand there recording.
“I just wanted to make sure nothing happened to the guy,” said Phillips, a 25-year-old college student studying computer science.
Turner remained calm while asserting his rights, but the cop became agitated, telling him he was going to stand there and block him from recording.
And when Turner asked for his name and badge number, the cop refused to say it, inviting Turner to read it on his name tag.
“I don’t have to identify myself to you,” the cop, whose name is August Klinkenberg said.
“You’re accredited by CALEA. Yes, you are,” Turner responded, referring to the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, which refers to itself as the “gold standard in public safety.”
Eventually, they moved the mentally ill man to another location and Turner tried to follow, but was again, stopped by police, even though he had every right to record from a respectable distance.
One cop even resorted to the overused HIPAA violation accusation, but we’ve long made it clear that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act pertains to the release of medical records and has no effect whatsoever on video recording medical patients in public.
When they finally placed the man in an ambulance, Turner walked back to his car and drove away.
And that was when they retaliated.
“Fuck the Police”
He was pulled over within two minutes, accused of driving with his high beams on. He pulled into the parking lot of a 7-11 and pulled out his Fair DUI flyer, created by South Florida attorney Warren Redlich and popularized by PINAC’s Jeff Gray.
As police did to Redlich in August when they arrested him for trying to drive through a DUI checkpoint in Miami by refusing to roll down his window, only placing his drivers license, registration, proof of insurance and Fair DUI flyer against the window, the Arlington cop began knocking on his window, insisting he needed to hold his license.
Turner remained silent throughout the entire detainment, answering questions by pointing at the items he had pressed against the windshield.
He then put in a CD and started playing “Fuck the Police” at full volume on his car stereo, the 1990s hip hop hit by N.W.A.
That begins around 7:20 in the video if you want to get right to it.
He then lowered his window a bit to sign the ticket, ensuring the cop heard Fuck the Police, to sign his ticket. A $171 ticket for failing to dim his lights.
Turner did not reopen his window to accept the ticket, motioning for the cop to place it on his windshield.
Turner was so peeved at having his First Amendment rights violated while trying to record the initial interaction with the mentally ill man, then getting slapped with a retaliatory ticket because of it, he drove to the Arlington Police Department a few hours later to file a complaint.
That was where another Arlington cop attacked him for recording while trying to file a complaint, but that’s another story altogether, which you can read here.
Below are the videos of all the encounters from this write-up. There’s a chance the first video might now play here because of the copyright issue with the song, but you can click to view it on Youtube and view it fine. He also uploaded an unedited version of that stop where the song comes on right after the 1o:40 mark.